‘‘I thought I should’ve won it my sophomore year,’’ Cottrill said.
That self-assuredness is one reason why Cottrill is the Evans Award winner for 2010, as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
The highly confident, decidedly outspoken and exuberant former Poca High School and Mountain State Academy standout ran away with the honor after scoring 731 points to lead Logan to the Class AAA State Tournament for the first time since 1995. Cottrill had more than 100 total votes, finishing well ahead of Ripley junior Chase Fischer, South Charleston’s Pierria Henry and Parkersburg South’s Chase Fieler, who finished fourth.
South Charleston’s Aaron Dobson won the 2009 Evans Award.
‘‘You can count on him making extra plays,’’ Logan Coach Mark Hatcher said of Cottrill. ‘‘In a game situation, you’d think he was going to take those last- second shots, but most of the time he passes to the guy who makes the last- second shot.’’
In two seasons (2007, 2008) under Coach Allen Osborne at Poca, the 6-foot-3 combo guard scored 1,164 points with 136 3-pointers in 42 games for an average of 27.7. His sophomore year after giving WVU a verbal commitment, Cottrill younger brother of former Poca star and Eastern Michigan standout Ricky Cottrill — had 711 points to lead the Dots to a 17-6 record, but his team lost to Winfield in the sectional.
Entering Logan’s first-round State Tournament game against Hedgesville at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Cottrill has 2,731 career points, which includes 1,895 points and 237 3-pointers in three seasons at SSAC-member schools.
The Evans Award, however, is based on the merits of a season, not a career.
This season he averaged 29.2 points, had 101 3-pointers, hit 146 of his 190 free throw attempts and averaged 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals. Cottrill is the first Logan player in the 41-year history of the award, two years after his sophomore season when he finished second behind Bridgeport’s Bryant Irwin.
‘‘After that season I was just worried about improving myself,’’ said Cottrill, who then transferred to Beckley-based Mountain State Academy, where he was ineligible for the award.
His transfer to MSA — a non-Secondary School Activities Commission institution — created a stir in the Kanawha Valley and around the state and lost Cottrill an opportunity at any in-state postseason awards, although he had 836 points, 170 assists and 136 rebounds in 34 games as a junior. He wasn’t necessarily on an island at MSA, but it was different, he said.
‘‘In the hall, kids were coming up to your knees because it was K (kindergarten) through 12,’’ Cottrill said. ‘‘It was a nice place but kind of uppity. We only played five home games. We only had about 100 kids at the school. There weren’t a lot of fans like we had at Poca or Logan.’’
His move to Logan also created controversy, but returned to him the chance to play in front of large crowds and compete for a state title.
He’ll do that this week for what he hopes is three more games and capped by Logan’s first title since winning the 2005 Class AA crown.
Hatcher expects Cottrill to ‘‘turn it up a notch,’’ something he doesn’t always do unless it’s a big game.
Cottrill said every game is big now, which means he’ll be turning it up several notches.
‘‘You got that right,’’ Cottrill said. ‘‘This is a dream come true already. The next three games are the most important of my life. We’re going to reach that final game at the Civic Center.’’